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JRT to present ‘The 39 Steps’

Patrick Barlow’s stage adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps” mixes slapstick comedy with the suspense and adrenaline of a dramatic spy thriller.  Jonesborough Repertory Theatre takes on the production for a limited time: April 9 – 19.
Based on the 1935 suspense thriller movie, “The 39 Steps” by Hitchcock, the stage production opens on a man in London who tries to help a counter-espionage agent prevent an organization of spies called “The 39 Steps” from stealing top secret information.
When the agent is killed and the main character stands accused of the murder, he goes on the run to save himself and stop the spy ring.
 The stage adaptation of Hitchcock’s 1935 film takes an unexpectedly comedic twist as JRT’s four talented actors assume every character from master-spy to farmer.
The show is directed by Heather Knudtsen, who most recently brought “A Christmas Story” to the JRT stage.
“The quartet switches between roles right before your eyes,” Knudtsen said. “They assemble bridges out of ladders and train cars out of trunks, giving ‘The 39 Steps’ an energetic spontaneity.”
“Beautiful, mysterious woman pursued by gunmen. Sounds like a spy story,” lead character Richard Hannay says in a scene from the play.
You’ll see a blonde heroine, dramatic lighting and most excitingly the suspense Hitchcock is known for. 
 “The sinister spies plotting the demise of old England and the mad chase along the side of a speeding locomotive will be familiar to fans of the original story of ‘The 39 Steps,’” Knudsten said.
“But the play is fully reworked in an almost Vaudevillian style. When I say film noir and slapstick in the same sentence, I usually get funny looks. But as unimaginable as it may seem, these two flavors come together in a fresh and engaging way in ‘The 39 Steps.’ ”
 The busy cast of four at JRT takes on up to 30 combined roles in “The 39 Steps.” The cast includes recent “Singin’ In The Rain” leads Lucas Schmidt as Richard Hannay and Kylie Green as Annabella, Margaret and Pamela.
They are joined by dynamic duo Derek Smithpeters and Austin Wingate.
“Plays like ‘The 39 Steps’ are living proof that the human imagination knows no bounds,” Knudtsen said. “If we do our job correctly, you will want to imagine the intricate details of the story with us. And the result of that is an experience that no ready-made story on a screen can offer. This, of course, is a truth well known in the storytelling town of Jonesborough.”
 “The 39 Steps” has graced both Broadway and London’s West End, where it is still currently running. In 2008 it received, among others, the Tony award for Best Play. In 2007 it received the Drama Desk award for Best Comedy.
 The show will open on Thursday, April 9, and run through Sunday, April 19, with shows at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and matinee performances at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. 
Tickets are now available for $15 general admission, $13 for seniors and students, and group discounts available for 15 or more for $10.
To purchase tickets, or for more information, visit or call 753-1010.